I was talking with a friend of mine this week about church stuff. He was sharing many frustrations with the way his church did things. He talked about not reaching the youth and being irrelevant. He said what it really boiled down to was this; they have no vision! He said that no one from his church could tell him what their vision was, why they existed or who they were trying to reach. In an environment like that there is always decline. People will not follow a leader without a vision. People will not be attracted to the church without a vision.

I am so thankful that at the church I attend, NewPointe Community Church, we have a vision. If you ask anyone on staff or in a leadership position they would say the same thing. Our vision is to “Lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ”. We will use whatever means is necessary to bring people to Christ and then help them grow in that relationship.

We talk a lot about what your next step is spiritually? We try to always make it clear what their next step could be. Then the person has to make a choice to either take that step, wait, or not take that step.

I felt bad for my friend, because he was at the end of his rope. He had tried to bring about change, but got very little help and a bunch of resistance. Changing a church is difficult as is changing people. However that is what God has called us to do. Transform ourselves and the church, so that we can be salt and light to the world.

My pastor wants to change the world! I love that and want to be a part of that. I want to be part of a movement that God is creating. A movement to impact our counties, our state, our country and our world. The local church is the hope of the world. Unfortunately many churches choose to ignore the world and circle the wagons and put up do not enter signs.

Where their is no vision there is decline or death. The Bible says with no vision the people perish.

Life & Death

This has been an interesting week for me. I officiated at two funerals this week. One for a 54 year old man that had cancer and the other for a 68 year old woman that had several health problems. Both of them professed to be Christians and we were able to celebrate their lives and share the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone that came.

Funerals always remind me how short life really is. We don’t know how old we are, you could be 30 years old and be an old man if you are going to die next year. You could also be 60 years old and be young if you are going to live another 30 years. My point is, we only have so much time on this earth.

The thing that I was reminded of the most was how important our relationships are with people. When I do a funeral, I am reminded to make sure I have all my relationships in order. Have I worked at building the relationships that are important to me? Am I spending time with the people that I love? Do I need to ask anyone to forgive me?

I also went to see two young men that were life flighted to Akron General Hospital this week. Both in separate accidents. Both of these young men (22 & 17 years old)look like they are going to make it through and recover. They were covered with lots of prayer. Sometimes things like this can be a wake up call for us to follow God’s plan for our lives and not do our own thing. It is so easy to get off track and get caught up in this world.

These young men have another chance to make a difference in this world. To grow in their relationship with Jesus and influence people in a positive way. These life and death situations are a reminder to make sure we have our priorities straight. What is really important in your life? Think about that and make sure you tell the people you love how much they mean to you. Don’t wait to reconcile relationships or tell your family you love them. You may not get the chance to later.

Impacting Haiti

Here are some pictures from Kevin Kate’s trip to Haiti. They drilled a well for a village. It supports nearly 2,000 people.

Amazing Stats

I just watched an eight minute video that gave some amazing statistics. It talks about how fast things are changing and how different today’s world is. As I watched the information it made me wonder how we as a church should use this information. How can we stay in touch and reach this ever changing rapidly developing world. The church should be out in front on this. The church should be the most exciting, changing, dynamic place on earth. We need to understand the changes that are happening in our world so that we can connect this world with the greatest news ever. All of these changes are a huge help to the church if we approach it correctly. Are we open to dramatic changes? Are we connecting with the younger generation or expecting them to get things like we did? Are we using technology to our advantage? Are we thinking about two three or ten years from now when technology has tripled? Are we willing to shift?

Watch the video and let’s have a discussion on this.

Attitude isn’t Everything

I came across an incredible thought today. I was listening to a leadership lesson by John Maxwell. John has influenced my leadership greatly over the last 10 years through his books, tapes and seminars. The quote that got my attention was from an unknown source.

“Attitudes are when we learn to think correctly without acting. Habits are when we learn to act correctly without thinking.”

I used to think that attitude was everything. If I had a great attitude things would go my way. I have found that is not true. A great attitude definitely gives you an advantage in life, work and relationships. However without great habits the best attitude in the world won’t get you through the hard times. It really takes both.

I try really hard to have a good attitude, but sometimes find myself with a bad attitude because of circumstances or people. In those down times I need good habits that will carry me through.

Some of those habits include:
prayer, time alone with God, reading my Bible, fasting, silence, solitude, rest, journaling, confession, listening, worshipping God, seeking wise counsel, serving someone else, giving, going to church, community, exercise, focus, organizing and planning.

Not all of these things are habits for me, but some of them are. I am working on it, along with my attitude. Often I find that when I am getting discouraged or down I have strayed away from some of these basic spiritual habits. As I get back into them I experience God and that changes everything.

If you are experiencing a hard time in life look at some of these habits and start to work on them. As you do, you take the focus off of your hard times and onto growing in your relationship with God. Your attitude and habits will keep you centered. Your habits determine what you are centered on. Are you centered on Jesus Christ or yourself?

Life Change

The reason NewPointe Church exits is to lead people every where into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. That is a big vision. In a nut shell we exist for life change, to be the catalyst for people all over the world to grow closer to Jesus Christ.

Yesterday I had the privilege of hearing six different people share their life change stories with me. All six are going to be baptized in October. I sat down with them and listened to them share what God has done and is doing in their lives.

Nothing charges me up more than hearing people talk passionately about their relationship with Jesus. Tears came to their eyes as they talked about how God drew them to himself and how they were able to overcome sin and difficult circumstances because of God’s strength and courage.

These six people have experienced a change. They have experienced God and they don’t want to go back to the old way of life. I can’t wait for their stories to be played on the big screens for everyone to hear. They are going public with their faith. Way to go Angela, Amy, Steve, Jillian, Jason and Christen!

Each one was nervous and unsure about be video taped, but they knew this was a step God wanted them to take. Often times if we can face a fear and do what God calls us to there is a spiritual breakthrough in our lives. For these six people they will never be the same. They are standing tall for Jesus Christ and following Him.

What is holding you back from following Jesus with all your heart, soul and mind? What is your next step in your walk with Him? For some it is baptism, for others maybe getting in a small group, for some it may be leading a small group or serving in an area of ministry. For others it may be taking on a leadership role in ministry or going on a mission trip. For others it may mean getting help for your marriage and reconciling your relationships. For some people it may mean being a better steward of your money. For someone it may be giving a large chunk of your resources to God’s work. I don’t know what your next step is, but God is calling you to it.

Step out in faith and begin living fully for God!